Paracelsus described "moor" as a remedy for certain diseases. Later, soldiers of Napoleon learnt about peat pulp and mud baths in Egypt and brought this knowledge to Europe. Jérôme Bonaparte, Napoleon's brother gave command to erect the first health resort with peat applications for his troops after the Battle of Leipzig in Bad Nenndorf. However, an earlier peat pulp resort has been alleged to have existed in Bad Pyrmont in 1802. In the 19th century, peat pulp resorts have been founded in many European health resorts including Marienbad (1813), Franzensbad (1827), Karlsbad (1836) and Bad Aibling (1845).
The effect of peat in treatment
Therapeutic peat has antimicrobial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, antifungal and astringent properties. Peat and peat-based products are efficient because of their various components are capable of being absorbed through the skin. In skin care, peat is suitable for all skin types, even for sensitive skin.
One of the most important groups of bioactive substances in peat are humic substances. These polyfunctional nitrogen-containing organic substances have a complex molecular structure and are composed of amino acids, hexoses, pentoses, aromatic and heterocyclic compounds, and a number of functional groups (-COOH, -OH, -CHO). Given the anti-inflammatory effect, humic substances are well suited for the treatment of inflammatory skin diseases. Additionally, they have an antifungal effect, they affect immunity and even provide some UV-protection.Since humic substances have an antiviral effect, they are suitable to use in face masks in order to prevent activation of viruses after chemical or laser peeling. As an anti-aging factor, peat also contains vegetable sterols, widely used in modern facial creams.
Sometimes the oldest and simplest products are the best. Mud from the lowland moorland of Austria, Hungary and Czechoslovakia has been used for wellbeing for at least 2,000 years. The Romans prized it for its health and strength- promoting qualities and the Celts dunked themselves into the odd mud bath, too. Now "moor mud" has become the latest must-try treatment for celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Trinny and Susannah, Kim Cattrall and Sarah Jessica Parker.
It's thick and black (though odour free) and my first impression was one of mild aversion. I was introduced to it at the Tyringham Hall naturopathic clinic in Buckinghamshire around 15 years ago. ''Climb in and relax for 20 minutes,'' said the therapist, pointing at a bath full of murky black water. ''Honestly, it's lovely. Just make sure you have a little rest afterwards.''
Central Europeans prize their mud for its natural healing ability, hence its popularity with doctors and vets. A moor product is even used in Austrian casualty departments as a treatment for burns. Research has shown that the mud can help to improve the circulation, soothe aching muscles and reduce swelling in joints. Some claim that drinking it can calm and heal the gut. Others even believe it can help infertility. What is certain is that the ooze acts as a natural exfoliator and also hydrates the body. As the mud contains essential oils, fats and lipids, it is able to penetrate the skin with ease and many people swear it helps smooth away wrinkles and rejuvenate the skin.
Naturopathic physician Jim Chan, who specializes in treating cancer at his Vancouver clinic, often uses peat balneotherapy as part of his patients’ complementary treatment regimens. Dr. Chan explains that peat contains fulvic acid, an organic acid with the ability to neutralize a specific toxic chemical that adversely affects the body’s P53 protein. It is this protein that helps prevent cancer by repairing genetic faults. If the P53 protein mechanism isn’t working, then the body’s ability to repair damaged (precancerous) genes is hindered.
Hot peat baths, typically at temperatures upwards of 100 degrees F, help prevent cancer cells from replicating and further detoxify the body. Many cancer-causing chemicals also implicated in other chronic diseases get stored in the body’s fat cells over time. The combination of peat and heat mobilizes these toxins, and with the added effect of increased circulation eliminates them quicker, mostly through perspiration. At the same time, the skin absorbs the nutrients found in peat.
This sort of detoxification is a key tenet of wholistic cancer care. A naturopathic physician considers factors such as diet, lifestyle, stress level, mental attitude and the body’s toxic load, as well as external exposure to electromagnetic radiation and pollution through food, air and water. Whether used in conjunction with conventional chemotherapy, radiation and surgery, recommendations can include dietary modifications, nutritional supplements, anti-cancer herbs or substances the goal being to boost the body’s healing and detoxification abilities and/or increase killing of cancer cells.
In additional to its benefits for cancer care, peat bathing is also good for health maintenance, says Dr. Chan, in particular for those with arthritis and lupus. Peat possesses antibacterial and antiviral effects, as well as the ability to relax muscles and reduce the body’s inflammatory response.
Peat is now recognized worldwide for its exceptional restorative properties and potential healing benefits.The botanical peat bath is a soothing, exhilarating and rejuvenating full submersion bath at a therapeutic temperature range of 105 to 113 degrees Fahrenheit for a minimum of seven minutes and a maximum of 20 minutes.The therapeutic bath gently removes the dead skin cells and enhances circulation, leaving the skin feeling soft and glowing with life. Once the botanical peat bath is complete, the patient proceeds to a wool blanket and sheet wrap for 30 minutes to stimulate the perspiration process.The treatment offers serenity, pain relief and accelerated healing. The natural minerals and medicinal properties of balneotherapy are absorbed via the skin. This composition promotes circulation, stimulates the immune system, promotes muscular relaxation, relieves pain, breaks down fat cells, detoxifies and improves range of motion. Remaining wrapped and out of drafts for three hours after treatments will prevent becoming chilled.Peat absorption rates continue throughout a 12-hour period; therefore, showering with soap is discouraged during absorption time.
Some of the indications of the botanical peat bath include back pain, PMS, lumbago, sciatica, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, trauma, strains, sprains, fractures, sports injuries, post-operative rehabilitation, metabolic disorders, obesity, gynecological disorders, orthopedic or neurological disorders, eczema, colds, flu, stress and general detoxification.
It is used not only to beautify, but also to cure multitude of ailments from mobility problems, arthritis, and hormonal imbalance to post surgery recovery and muscle recovery in sport medicine. Its actions are thermo-physical, biochemical, anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, and natural antibiotics*. Because peat has chelatic properties (it binds heavy metal isotopes) it is a very strong natural detoxifier*.
Moor mud, moor peat, therapy peat, BALNEO-peat are different names for high quality, matured peat that is suitable for balneotherapy.
One of the famous examples of peat's ability to preserve the human skin is Tollund peat bog man which was preserved in an unbelievable state in a peat bog for thousands of years without any additional preservation.